Gaza Post - Saudi Arabia/ Agencies
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday condemned Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes on the edge of Jerusalem a day earlier, urging world powers to “stop this aggression”
“The cabinet strongly condemned and denounced authorities of the Israeli occupation for the demolition of dozens of houses in East Jerusalem,” said a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
“It called on the international community to intervene to stop this aggression and dangerous escalation that targets Palestinians.”
The condemnation from Riyadh came hours after Palestinians hurled abuse and chairs at a Saudi blogger who was visiting Jerusalem’s Old City as a guest of the Jewish state. Israel does not have diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia although the two countries have found a common foe in Iran.
Israel has come under fire from the Palestinians and the international community over the demolition of 12 residential buildings in an area known as Wadi al-Hummus, which is part of the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher. The area falls just outside of Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries and is part of the Palestinian Authority-controlled area of the West Bank.
Israel said the buildings were constructed illegally and built too close to the security barrier that was built to prevent entry of terrorists from the West Bank. In the wake of a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for the demolitions, the buildings were razed Monday in an operation that involved hundreds of members of the security forces.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the Supreme Court ruled the illegal construction “constitutes a severe security threat and can provide cover to suicide bombers and other terrorists hiding among civilian population.”
He said that those who built houses along the separation barrier “took the law into their own hands.”
According to the United Nations, some 20 people already living in the buildings were being displaced, while 350 owners of properties that were under construction or not yet inhabited were also affected.
On Monday, several nations and international bodies, including France, Jordan, Qatar, the EU and the UN, condemned Israel’s razing of the buildings.
The EU said the demolitions undermined efforts to broker a lasting peace in the region, while senior UN humanitarian officials in the region expressed “sadness” over the demolitions and warned that many other homes could face “the same fate.”
“Israel’s policy of destroying Palestinian property is not compatible with its obligations under international humanitarian law,” the senior officials said.
Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the civil affairs department of the PA, called Monday’s demolition a “crime” and demanded international intervention.